Endangered or Extinct Last Names

January 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

The linked articles list some last names which are going (or have already gone) the way of the dodo, and discuss some of the reasons for their disappearance. Did you even know last names could go extinct? (Also, don’t you think some of these last names sound perfect for gnomes or hobbits?)

9 Last Names on the Brink of Extinction:
“Any last name with under 200 “bearers” is endangered, and we’ve found some which are even extinct. Do you have a rare last name on the verge of extinction? Or is your last name extremely common?”

Endangered last names:
Ajax, Edevane, Gastrell, and Slora

Critically-endangered last names (fewer than 20 bearers):
Berrycloth, Birdwhistle, Dankworth, Fernsby, Loughty, MacQuoid, Miracle, Relish, Sallow, Tumbler, and Villan / Villin

Extinct last names:
Bread, Bythesea, Bytheseashore, MacCaa, Puscat, Pusset, Pussmaid, and Spinster

10 English Surnames About to Go Extinct:

Names which have disappeared from England and Wales (extinct last names):
Chips, Harred, Hatman, Jarsdel, Nithercott, Raynott, Rummage, Southwark, Temples, and Woodbead

Names with fewer than 50 bearers through England and Wales (critically endangered last names):
Bonneville, Carla, Febland, Fernard, Grader, Gruger, Mirren, Nighy, Pober, and Portendorfer.

Names dying out the fastest in England and Wales, compared to the 1901 census (endangered last names):
Ashworth, Brook, Butterworth, Clegg, Cohen, Crowther, Greenwood, Haigh, Ingham, Kershaw, Nuttal, Ogden, Pratt, Sutcliffe, and William

Can you think of any other uncommon or vanished last names?
(Also, if you’re looking for endangered or extinct first names, try this post!)


Some Formerly-Popular Baby Names for Girls

January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here is an article about some names that were once top of the list in popularity for baby girls, but have since gone nearly extinct. What do you think? Is it time to resurrect some of these old-fashioned names? (Note: If you’re looking for good names for characters, remember that the young adults of any particular decade would be likely to have a popular baby name of ~20 years earlier. So, say, an Ethel born in the 1890s would be a “new woman” of the WWI years, or even a “flapper” of the 1920s!)

Bertha (popular in the 1880s)
Betty (popular throughout the 1930s)
Doris (popular in the 1930s)
Dorothy (popular in the 1920s)
Edna (popular from the 1880s through to the 1920s)
Ethel (popular in the 1890s through the early 1900s)
Florence (popular from the 1880s-1930s)
Gladys (popular around the 1890s-1910s)
Ida (popular in the 1880s)
Mildred (popular in the 1910s-1920s)
Minnie (popular in the late 1800s)
Tammy (popular in the 1960s)

What Your Name Says About You

January 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

The article linked here talks about how naming conventions change over time, and how the tendency of parents to favor “unique” or unusual names increases as cultural values increasingly favor individualism over community. It also touches on the perils of giving a child a name which is too unusual, which ties in to lower rates of income for the groups most likely to have “unique” names (i.e., girls, lower socio-economic classes, ethnic minorities).

From the article:

More than half of parents polled last year said they favor unusual names, which is up nearly 10 percent from 2013, according to the parenting site BabyCenter.com. And this trend is only expected to grow, say researchers, who’ve found that more than ever, baby naming is tethered to a narcissistic urge to be different.

. . . “The interesting paradox is although people still prefer more common names, parents are less likely to give more common names,” Twenge says. “They place more emphasis on uniqueness.”

Baby-Naming Trends of the Past

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

What’s that they say?
“Everything old is new again.”
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
“History repeats itself.”
“What goes around, comes around.”

It all seems so appropriate for the subject of naming trends. We even have an early 19th century preference for “K” names to thank for making “Katherine” (and it’s nickname, “Katie” / “Katy“) more common than “Catherine“!

Click through to the article for more baby-naming trends that aren’t as modern as we might think!

Most Common Names for Some Common Jobs

January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Click here to see an infographic showing the six most disproportionately common names for for 37 professions. The data was gathered from U.S. public records, with some rather interesting (and useful, if, for example, you’re trying to choose a name that really suits a particular character) results. What do you think: Do certain names just sound right for certain jobs? Were there any results that surprised you? Are you in the right position for your name (keep in mind, some names show up for more than one occupation)?

– ACCOUNTANT: Adele, Charmaine, Kurtis, Maribel, Mindy, and Mitzi.
– BIOLOGIST: Cheryl, Janet, Nicholas, Sara, Stuart, and Suzanne.
– CAR SALESPERSON: Allen, Bob, Clay, Larry, Pete, and Travis.
– DRUMMER: Billy, Chad, Dave, Joey, Mickey, and Tommy.
– ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Alfred, Bernard, Charles, Edwin, Eugene, and Harvey.
– FARMER: Darin, Delbert, Duane, Elwood, Marlin, and Mavis.
– FIREFIGHTER: Brandon, Darren, Jason, Jeremy, Matthew, and Ryan.
– FITNESS INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer, Julie, Karen, Pamela, Rebecca, and Virginia.
– FOOTBALL COACH: Bill, Dan, Jim, Mike, Rich, and Steve.
– FOOTBALL PLAYER: Darnell, Derrick, Jermaine, Nate, Quinton, and Reggie.
– GEOLOGIST: Frederick, Henry, Hugh, Leonard, Samuel, and William.
– GOLFER: Bobby, Bud, Johnny, Simon, Tommy, and Willie.
– GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Alison, Diana, Jan, Jessica, Kurt, and Vanessa.
– GUITARIST: Buddy, Eddie, Mick, Richie, Sonny, and Trey.
– HAIRDRESSER: James, Lori, Patricia, Raymond, Robert, and Susan.
– HISTORIAN: Adrienne, Caroline, Emma, Henry, Herbert, and Theodore.
– INSURANCE SALESPERSON: Brent, Clark, Dalton, Garrett, Mac, and Patty.
– INTERIOR DESIGNER: Bonnie, Elise, Lynne, Marjorie, Martha, and Melinda.
– JOURNALIST: Alastair, Angus, Gideon, Hanna, Jonah, and Louisa.
– JUDGE: Archibald, Clement, Josiah, Lise, Louise, and Rufus.
– LAWYER: Augustus, Cecily, Marshal, Norton, Sanford, and William.
– LIBRARIAN: Abigail, Eleanor, Johanna, Julia, Margot, and Nanette.
– MECHANIC: Dave, Fred, Jerry, Patrick, Randy, and Rick.
– METEOROLOGIST: Bill, Jeff, Joe, Jim, Mike, and Scott.
– PHOTOGRAPHER: Annie, Bruno, Hugo, Noah, Tracey, and Zoe.
– POET: Anne, Celia, Dorothy, Edgar, Edmund, and Hannah.
– POLICE OFFICER: Kevin, Kim, Louis, Raymond, Timothy, and Wayne.
– RABBI: Chaim, Judah, Meir, Moshe, Shlomo, and Yosef.
– RACE CAR DRIVER: Bobby, Jimmy, Johnny, Luigi, Robbie, and Sebastian.
– RANCHER: Boyd, Clifford, Judy, Leland, Leroy, and Roy.
– SOCIAL WORKER: Constance, Jeannette, Marsha, Penelope, Stella, and Vivian.
– SOLDIER: Jacob, Jeremy, Joshua, Justin, Kyle, and Zachary.
– SONGWRITER: Benny, Billy, Mick, Richie, Sonny, and Stevie.
– STUNT-PERSON: Alex, Ben, Eddie, Erik, Terry, and Tom.
– SURGEON: Barrett, Harris, Holly, Jefferson, Sanford, and Sherwin.
– VENTURE CAPITALIST: Alexander, Doug, Guy, Joanna, Nicholas, and Shawn.
– VETERINARIAN: Gene, Larry, Peggy, Sara, Tracy, and Wayne.


January 6, 2015 § 2 Comments

An Old English last name, meaning “from Dudda’s meadow”.

None that I can think of.

– Lord Dudley, the evil Duke Wulf’s fat son, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

– Dudley Carew (1903-1981), English critic, journalist, poet, and writer.
– Dudley Costello (1803-1865), Anglo-Irish journalist, novelist, and soldier.
– Dudley Doust (1930-2008), American author and journalist.
– Dudley Fitts (1903-1968), American critic, educator, poet, and translator.
– Dudley Leavitt (1772-1851), American editor and publisher.
– Dudley Nichols (1895-1960), American screenwriter.
– Dudley Randall (1914-2000), American poet and publisher.
– Dudley Pope (1925-1997), English author.


January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Anglicized version of the Celtic “Cailean” or “Coilean”, or a diminutive of “Nicholas“.

Cailan, Cailean, Cailin, Calan, Calum, Coilean, Col, Colan, Cole, Coley, Collin, Collins, Colombe, Colombo, Colombano, Colson, Columbanus, Colyn, Kolman, Koloman, etc.

– Prince Colin, one of Princess Alison Jocelyn’s three brothers, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

– Colin Campbell (1859-1928), Scottish actor, director, and screenwriter.
– Colin Dann (b. 1943), English author.
– Colin Dexter (b. 1930), English author.
– Colin Douglas (b. 1945), pen name of Scottish novelist Colin Thomas Currie.
– Colin Fletcher (1922-2007), Welsh outdoorsman and writer.
– Colin Forbes (1923-2006), pen name of English author Raymond Sawkins, who also wrote under the pen names “Harold English”, “Jay Bernard”, and “Richard Raine”.
– Colin Greenland (b. 1954), English author.
– Colin Harvey (1960-2011), English author and editor.
– Colin Henry Hazlewood (1823-1875), English playwright.
– Colin Higgins (1941-1988), Australian-American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.
– Colin Kapp (1928-2007), English author.
– Colin MacInnes (1914-1976), English journalist and novelist.
– Colin Mackay (1951-2003), Scottish novelist and poet.
– Colin McDougal (1917-1984), Canadian author.
– Colin McEvedy (1930-2005), English author, historian, and scholar.
– Colin Morton (b. 1948), Canadian poet.
– Colin Thiele (1920-2006), Australian author and educator.
– Colin Turbayne (1916-2006), Australian philosopher and writer.
– Colin Ward (1924-2010), English activist and writer.
– Colin Watson (1920-1983), English author.
– Colin White (1951-2008), English historian.
– Colin Wilson (1931-2013), English philosopher and writer.


January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Medieval French version of the Latin “Quirinus”, possibly from the Sabine word meaning “spear”.

Quirijn, Quirin, Quirino, Quirinus.

– Prince Corin, one of Princess Alison Jocelyn’s three brothers, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.


January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Germanic variation of “Wolf”, a shortened version of names like “Wolfgang”, “Wolfgar”, “Wolfram”, etc., or simply referencing the animal.

Ulf, Wolf, Wolfe, etc.

– Duke Wulf, Princess Alison Jocelyn’s evil uncle, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

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